Rigging Olaf On The Frozen Press Trip #DisneyFrozenEvent

*****Disclosure I attending the Disney Frozen Event Press Trip, my flight and expenses were covered by Disney and all opinions are my own

On the Frozen Press Trip we interviewed a lot of people. We interviewed the two directors and the producer inside my favorite building.  Inside is just as magical as the outside, the walls are constantly changing with whatever movie the team is working on. The walls are covered in Frozen right now.



We were able to spend some time with the merchandise.


Where we saw sketches of all the characters.




And a drawing of the ice castle


I learned a lot about my favorite character Olaf and how much he just LOVES summer.



Plus I got to rig him!


What is rigging?

Before a 3D character model can be handed over to the team of animators, it must be bound to a system of joints and control handles so that the animators can pose the model. This process is typically completed by artists known as character technical directors (TDs), or riggers.


The Character Department and Why A Rig is needed:

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Why You Should See Disney’s Frozen: #DisneyFrozenEvent

Disney’s Frozen is the newest fully animated production with a princess. Not only one princess but two princesses and one of them becomes a queen. Princess Anna and Princess Elsa both are beautiful and fair but one of them was born with a very special gift. Elsa has the gift to make ice and snow but she doesn’t know how to control it in times of extreme emotion. While playing with her sister Anna she loses control and hurts her by striking her in the head with ice. Her parents rush Anna to the Trolls in the forest and they are able to save her but they warn that Anna’s power if very strong and potentially deadly. When the heart is attacked only a true act of complete love can save the heart.


The King and Queen decide to separate the sisters from each other and the kingdom while Anna tries to contain her powers, and while they are still young their parents die. On Coronation day, the doors to the kingdom are open and Anna sees her sister again. She’s super excited and Elsa is so nervous. She doesn’t want anyone to know that she has a gift with snow an ice. She doesn’t want to harm anyone. Her sister Anna, meets a boy and decides to get married, when she announces her planes Elsa loses it and the ability to control her gift. She ends up frightening the entire kingdom and runs away. As she runs away the whole kingdom falls under an eternal winter. Anna decides she must save the day by confronting her sister. On her journey she meets Olaf, Hans and Sven and they become quite the team.


Frozen has some amazing music and very impressive animation. I watched Frozen in 3D and was quite impressed with the subtle improvements and how the world looked so amazing. It actually felt like it was snowing. The songs are catchy and the soundtrack is impressive. My husband prefers all the songs without words and I prefer the songs with words. Now that I had the chance to voice Olaf and sing his song about Summer, I actually love the song. Miles has the snowman toy and he plays the song and I sing along with Olaf every day. Bees will buzz, Kinds will blow dandelion fuzz and I’ll be doing whatever snow does in summer!


Disney’s Frozen is out November 28th and it’s a great family film. I laughed, I almost cried and I loved every minute of it. Disney has created another classic. It’s a movie I could watch over and over and over again. Last time I felt that way about a Disney classic was when The Little Mermaid came out.

How Mary Poppins Became a Movie: Saving Mr. Banks #SavingMrBanks

I never knew there was such an interesting story behind the beloved movie Mary Poppins. Walt Disney had to work to get this story from book to the big screen and Saving Mr. Banks tells us that story. Here is a trailer that was released last week.


Two-time Academy Award®–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks topline Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen.

When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation.clip_image001

For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp.

It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.

Inspired by true events, “Saving Mr. Banks” is the extraordinary, untold story of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen—and the testy relationship that the legendary Walt Disney had with author P.L. Travers that almost derailed it.

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SAVING MR. BANKS opens in theaters limited on December 13, 2013 and opens wide on December 20, 2013!

Despicable Me 2 Review #DespicableMe2

A few nights ago the kids and I went to the theater to see the movie Despicable Me 2. I was a little concerned because we haven’t seen Despicable Me before, but guess what, it’s ok. We didn’t need to see it, the previews told us all we needed to know to see it. We watched it in 3D and I loved it. The whole family loved it. We left the theater with everyone talking about the movie and how they can’t wait for me to get it for the house. Meaning, they expect us to get it on Blu-ray when it’s released. They would probably be happy just going back to the theater too. LOL…

The effects were amazing. There is a scene in the movie where they were blowing bubbles and they looked so real like you could pop them. I was really impressed with the 3D effects.


In Despicable Me 2 Gru is recruited by the AVL (the Anti-villain League). They need someone that thinks like a villain to help them catch a villain. He tries to tell them no, but I think it’s his children that convince him that he needs to do it. And he was excited to tell them about it. His girls are really excited for him and the movie that they made was so good. It has rockets, cool cars and a lipstick Taser.


Oh and of course minions, lots and lots of minions. Minions that clean, Minions that care for the kids, minions that cook and minions that just do everything. I love those minions just like I love my minions. And my minions loved Despicable me.

I’m really not a huge fan of rehashing the story for you, but what you need to know is that it’s a great family movie and appropriate. No language, the humor is clean, I mean there are bottom jokes. If you have kids you know that but humor is already coming out of their mouths so this movie is so appropriate. I can’t think of anything negative to say about it. What I can say is YOU HAVE TO GO SEE IT!




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About the film

Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s worldwide blockbuster Despicable Me entertained audiences around the globe in 2010, grossing more than $540 million and becoming the 10th-biggest animated motion picture in U.S. history.  In summer 2013, get ready for more Minion madness in Despicable Me 2. 

Chris Meledandri and his acclaimed filmmaking team create an all-new comedy adventure featuring the return of (former?) super-villain Gru (Steve Carell), his adorable girls, the unpredictably hilarious Minions…and a host of new and outrageously funny characters. 

Starring the voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong, Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier, Moises Arias

Minion Rush – Mobile Game

Gru’s loyal, yellow, gibberish-speaking Minions are ready for their toughest challenge in Despicable Me: Minion Rush. Play as a Minion and compete with others in hilarious, fast-paced challenges in order to impress your boss, (former?) super-villain Gru! Jump, fly, dodge obstacles, collect bananas, be mischievous, and defeat villains to earn the title of Minion of the Year! Download now for your iOS and Android devices.

Watch the game trailer here

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie’s The Wizard Of Dizz!

On June 11th journey to a wondrous land of enchantment and surprises when a classic tale gets a brand- new twist in a full-length adventure that follows Minnie Mouse and the rest of the Clubhouse pals as they visit the strange and wonderful world of "Dizz" in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie’s The Wizard Of Dizz!clip_image002

And it saved my Friday! I had intended on writing last Friday, I put in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie’s The Wizard of Dizz for Miles and Zoe to watch so I could get some writing done and then I ended up on the phone the whole time trying to get some PR fires taken care of. Minnie acting as Dorthy, Mickey as the Tin man, and Donald as the Lion kept their attention even when the phone was in my hand. If you’re a mom like me, then anytime you put your ear to the phone your kids go nuts. The only thing I ended up hearing from them was mommy, why were you on the phone all afternoon? Huh, that’s movie success. I even found it cute to listen to. I didn’t see that much of the movie with my ear to the phone and eyes to the screen.

Overflowing with music and laughter – plus two extra "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" episodes, ten bonus Minnie’s Bow-Toons and a FREE download of the Minnie Bow Maker digital book app – this song-filled celebration of fun and friendship proves there’s no place like the Clubhouse!

Zoe wanted to watch it a second time, but her brother didn’t. It was a really cute children’s movie with extra episodes of Minnie’s Bowtique.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Minnie’s The Wizard Of Dizz! Synopsis:

Journey to a wondrous land of enchantment and surprises! The classic tale gets a brand-new twist in Minnie’s new full-length adventure: The Wizard Of Dizz. Before you can say, "pink tornado," Minnie and Pluto end up in the silly but spectacular land of Dizz. It’s an amazing place, with rainbow trees, butterfly bows, and friendly "Chipmunchkins," but what Minnie wants most is to get home. Together, Minnie and her new friends Scarecrow Goofy, Mickey the Tin Mouse, and Donald the Lion,?set off to ask the wonderful Wizard of Dizz to make their dreams come true. But look out! Bad Witch Pete wants Minnie’s magical, sparkly green shoes, and he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve. Overflowing with music and laughter – plus two extra episodes, and ten bonus Minnie’s Bow-Toons – this song-filled celebration of fun and friendship proves there’s no place like the clubhouse!

Interview with Monsters University Director Dan Scanlon: Creating The Story #MonstersUEvent

Disney covered my travel and expenses for the Monsters University Event.

Anytime I see a Pixar movie, they always remind me how important it is to have a great story. That’s what Pixar is so good at, that’s why they are so successful they come up with a good story and Monsters University is not just a “pre-quall” that everyone wanted to make, it’s a story, a story about two friends, and how they become friends and well let’s talk about how the story came about. I sat down with Dan Scanlon and 24 other bloggers and we interviewed him and the conversation really explored how the movie’s story was created.

Why are Mike and Sulley meeting in college instead of 4th grade?

This question came up because in the movie Monsters Inc. says something about them meeting in the fourth grade…

Mike says to Sulley, you’ve been jealous of my good looks since the fourth grade. And so it’s a thing that a lot of people have brought up, and we certainly noticed it right away when we started developing the idea. And it can be really tough when you have a moment like that. We really explored it a lot. We did several versions of the film where we actually showed the guys meeting when they were younger, and one of the things that ended up happening is we ended up realizing that, in order to service that particular line, we were hurting the story.


We were hurting the story that we wanted to tell, which was the story of how these guys met, and how they, became friends. It became clear that in order to respect that line, we would had to have made Monsters, Elementary, which was not a story we wanted to tell. So it was really Pete Doctor and John Lassiter who kind of came to me and said… you kind of have to let that go. It’s gonna hurt both movies if you don’t tell this right. And the spirit of that line in the first film was to say, these two guys have known each other a long time. So we felt like it still supports that idea to have them meet in college. So, let’s just imagine that you’ve been jealous of my good looks since fourth grade’s just a monster expression……

…..It also gives you an opportunity to just get to see another place for monsters to, to go that, that seemed classic. And we, have never done a college movie. No one had ever really tried that, so, um, I think that was where the, the big idea… Or where the idea came from.


How do you tell a story that takes place in college and keep it family friendly?

We’re always trying to do that for the most part. But it is tricky. I mean, you want it to feel like college, and college is pretty wild. But, you know, we want it to be tasteful, and, uh, and so I feel like the good thing is is they’re monsters, so they can be wild, and, it felt like we just replaced whatever with,  what you would think of a little kid’s birthday party. They’re running around, and hanging from things. And it was, like, yeah, that still works, you know? Guys hanging from the ceiling and throwing things around… That became the college party, and it still kind of works, even if you took out everything else. But, uh, yeah.


How did you come up with Mike’s storyline?

…..It went through a lot of very different changes, and we went through times where we thought maybe it should be Sulley’s story and not Mike’s. And Mike’s story kept rising up to the top as the one that was the most important. They tend to change a lot. And I think that’s good. I think we want to make sure we’re telling the right story……..

I didn’t have a lot of, like, wild, crazy college stuff going on. I saw plenty of it, but, um, I guess I feel like that’s what I connect with with the movie is more on an emotional level. That feeling of showing up at an art school, and realizing that, though your mom puts your drawings on the refrigerator, you’re actually not the greatest artist in the world, it’s horrifying. And it’s humbling, and I think that people have that experience a lot.

And that part of it, that idea of Mike being up against that was what I felt would be the heart of the story, and what I felt connected to me personally is, boy, what do we do when things don’t work out inevitably? It’s so wonderful that we tell people you can be anything you want if you never give up. But sometimes it happens, and, and are we there for people to kind of help them go, no, maybe you’re not this, but you’re this. And that’s what I love about this story.

Disneynature’s Bears in Theaters April 18, 2014

In an epic story of breathtaking scale, Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure “Bears” showcases a year in the life of two mother bears as they impart life lessons to their impressionable young cubs. Set against a majestic Alaskan backdrop teeming with life, their journey begins as winter comes to an end and the bears emerge from hibernation to face the bitter cold. The world outside is exciting—but risky—as the cubs’ playful descent down the mountain carries with it a looming threat of avalanches. As the season changes from spring to summer, the brown bear families must work together to find food—ultimately feasting at a plentiful salmon run—while staying safe from predators, including an ever-present wolf pack. “Bears” captures the fast-moving action and suspense of life in one of the planet’s last great wildernesses—where mothers definitely know best and their cubs’ survival hinges on family togetherness.


Directed by Alastair Fothergill (“Earth,” “African Cats” and “Chimpanzee”) and Keith Scholey (“African Cats”), “Bears” is in theaters April 18, 2014, to celebrate Earth Day.


Fun Disneynature Facts:

· Bears” is the fifth release for Disneynature, the first new Disney-branded film label from The Walt Disney Studios in more than 60 years.  The label was launched in April 2008 to bring the world’s top nature filmmakers together to capture a variety of wildlife subjects and stories.

· The first four releases under the Disneynature label—“Earth,” “Oceans,” “African Cats” and “Chimpanzee”—are among the top five highest grossing feature-length nature films of all time. 


· Walt Disney was a pioneer in wildlife documentary filmmaking, producing 13 True Life Adventure motion pictures between 1948 and 1960, including “Seal Island” (1948), “Beaver Valley” (1950), “The Living Desert” (1953) and “Jungle Cat” (1958).  The films earned eight Academy Awards®. 


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Disneynature’s BEARS releases in theaters on April 18, 2014!

The College Everyone Wants to Go To and I Got In: Monsters University #MonstersUEvent

I have nightmares about having never finished college and that I need to go back to college. In most of my dreams I wake up as soon as I realize I have to go back to college, once I even went back to college which was really weird because my husband continued to work at Microsoft while I went back to school. A week ago I was looking through my e-mail and my dream came true. I was Told I have to go back to school. I have to go to Monsters University and I’m actually quite excited to go!


I’m going to San Francisco to the Pixar campus where I will be enrolled as a college freshman at Monsters University. There I’m going to learn all about the new movie Monsters University, it’s where all the learning happens, where you learn the real scare! I’ve been looking at my class options and know the only way for me is the scary way. The School of Scaring :

MU is a place for self-discovery, curiosity, and scholarship. With unmatched class offerings, a multitude of majors, and a supportive and friendly campus environment, Monsters University is worthy of your attention.
Each year, over 26,000 high school and transfer monsters apply to MU, but only a fraction get admitted. Our methods are strenuous, but our tradition is truly great.
With the top scaring program in the country, along with four other academically rigorous schools (including notable programs in scream energy, door technology, and business), MU’s academics are second-to-none.


But who really goes to college to learn, it’s all about the parties and these monsters know how to party!!!


I wonder how much trouble I’ll get into going back to college. Last time I went I made the best friends and had a great time. I even pledged to a sorority, but that ended up taking so much of my time that I just couldn’t hang. The night they kidnapped me I was so angry, I had a program due the next day and let me just say sororities don’t take no for an answer, well, I hope you’ll follow along next month when I’m kidnapped again as I attend Monsters University.


Monsters University is in theaters June 21st.

Coming To Theaters This July from DreamWorks Animation – Turbo!

Coming This July from DreamWorks Animation – Turbo!

By: Ashley

For those of you who don’t know, I have a little boy who will be turning 3 in June. He, along with TONS of other boys, loves to go fast. He runs, races, zips, zags, and speeds around our house inside and out. He hasn’t been to see a movie in a theater yet but, I’m thinking this summer, once he’s turned 3, he will be ready. After seeing a few sneak peeks at DreamWorks Animation summer film, Turbo, I think that might be the right movie to try! image

What is Turbo? Turbo is a little story about a sweet little garden snail. I know, I know. A movie about a snail, one of the slowest creatures ever, named Turbo. It doesn’t make sense. Once you find out that this little snail goes through a pretty spectacular transformation leaving him with special super speed power, then it starts to sound like a good story!


This is another star studded cast including Ryan Reynolds (Turbo) and Paul Giamatti (Chet) lead the way with other big names like Maya Rudolph, Ken Jeong, Luis Guzman, Samuel L. Jackson, and even Snoop Dogg adding more to this dynamic cast.


Turbo is on track to hit theaters July 2013.

A big thank you to 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation for inviting us to The Croods Parent Blogger Summit where I saw a sneak peek of Turbo.

About Ashley – Ashley is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and former teacher working to navigate through the mysterious world of Mommyia. Read more about her adventures at Momicles and follow her@Momicles2010.

The Croods Character Animation Process: Bringing The Croods to Life #TheCroods

The Croods Character Animation – Bringing The Croods to Life

By: Ashley

Did you know every second of character animation takes about a day to complete? Holy moly! When I heard that at the Parent Blogger Summit for The Croods, my jaw literally dropped. Can you imagine dedicating yourself to something so intensely? That’s just what James Baxter, one of the animators at DreamWorks does, and hearing him talk about all The Croods character animation secrets was almost as amazing as the skill and technology behind the film!


“The fun thing about The Croods… was making these cavemen different from any other kind of cavemen that you’ve seen before, but to also make them really funny and entertaining.” That’s one of the first things Baxter had to say about the character work on The Croods and I have to say they succeeded BIG TIME! The Croods family is a great hodge podge of animal like characteristics and mannerisms, raw human emotion, and tons of physical comedy.

Listening to animator James Baxter discuss his work on The Croods.


When you check out The Croods, you will definitely notice some animal influences in their movements. From the silverback gorilla way that Grugg (the dad) walks, the cat like athleticism of Eep (daughter), or even the little feral Jack Russel way toddler Sandy scurries around – they are all so incredibly believable. If you think that the fun on The Croods stops with fun human characters, you better wait to see all of the creature creations that the team came up with. Have you ever seen a Macawnivore? How about a Piranhakeet? Maybe a Crocopup is more your style. These creatures play a huge part in the movie, so animators spent a lot of time perfecting their moves and mannerisms too! “(And) it was just bizarre trying to come up with believable ways that these ridiculous creatures would actually move so that you could believe it.”


So what is it that makes the animated character look SO MUCH like the actor behind the voice? In The Croods, when I watch Eep (voiced by Emma Stone), part of what makes it so lifelike is the way her face moves: the certain smile or arch of the brow that looks just like Emma Stone. That’s where “lipstick cameras” come into play. Since there is a camera on the actors in the sound booth, animators can use that footage to fine tune a character’s mannerisms and expressions. Apparently Emma Stone is wildly animated when working in the sound booth and gave them a ton of ideas and things to work with.


Where does a lot of animation take place? According to Baxter, “…largely sitting at our desks, animating away, manipulating the puppets.” Once a character is created, animators use special computer programs (when using computer animation) to create a rigging system. You can think of it as the most intense set of puppet strings you have ever seen. With tons of controls for each aspect of a characters movement, it’s no wonder that it takes one day to create 1 second of animation.

Don’t worry, the animators don’t spend all of their time at their desks. One of the things I loved to see was how involved they all were with studying movement. Sure they used a lipstick camera and watched the movements of animals, but the other best test subject, was themselves! How do you see what it looks like for a caveman to fall down? You set up a camera, act like a caveman, and throw yourself down on the ground!

I was extremely impressed with the animation and incredibly lifelike characters in The Croods. Learning some of the behind the scenes secrets just made it even better. I can’t wait for you to see it too!


The Croods smashes into theaters March 22.

Link Up!

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A big thank you to 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation for inviting us to The Croods Parent Blogger Summit.

About Ashley – Ashley is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and former teacher working to navigate through the mysterious world of Mommyia. Read more about her adventures at Momicles and follow her@Momicles2010.